Mayank Sharma
on 28 June, 2013

Sleeping Tiger Roars Again!

Many people, especially those born in the 90’s like me, are often intrigued wondering that who really was Bal Thackeray and what made him so powerful? The reason that these questions pop up in our mind is because, although we reside in Maharashtra, we are never taught about him during our childhood.

Bal Keshav Thackeray, founder of Shiv Sena, started his career as a cartoonist in The Free Press Journal but left it in 1960 to form his own political weekly Marmik. His political philosophy was largely shaped by his father, Keshav Sitaram Thackeray. Through Marmik, he campaigned against the growing influence of outsiders in Maharashtra, specially Gujaratis, Marwaris and South Indians. In short, Bal Thackeray’s father helped in creation of this state whereas Bal Thackeray helped in shaping of this state.

These are just few points about him that I have mentioned above. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we were taught in details regarding the movements that he participated in, about the difficulties he faced, etc. during our school days? Well, Shiv Sena had thought of this and had presented BMC with its proposal for incorporating a chapter on life of Bal Thackeray in SSC’s history book.

Anant Nar, Shiv Sena corporator from Jogeshwari had written a letter to Mumbai’s Mayor, Sunil Prabhu, regarding this and had requested him to forward the same thing to the state government to complete further procedures.

As they say that a coin has two sides, this matter also has good as well as dark side. On good side, including such a chapter will help children in understanding an important political figure in a better way but on the bad side, many other leaders might end up demanding that the state includes their life also in the books.

Politics is nothing without the opposition and as expected, this move was opposed by the oppositions. Though Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) said that they didn’t have any problem with this inclusion, they also mentioned that the attempt to introduce the proposal in BMC was an act of misleading the people. One of the MNS leader ended up saying that this move by Nar was just an attempt to please his higher ups! Samajwadi Party (SP) called this as a political stunt and openly said that they will be opposing this move. Earlier, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) didn’t comment anything about this but on 31st May 2013 they opposed the move stating that they will get disappointed if SSC includes Bal Thackeray’s life and not of their head, Sharad Pawar!

Director of State Council of Education Research and Training (SCERT), N K Jarag said that although they didn’t receive any such request from the BMC still, such a chapter might be included in syllabus for post SSC as lower grades will not understand the depth of personality. SCERT is a nodal agency recognized by the National Council of Teacher Education (NCTE) for admission, curriculum construction, course conduct, guidance, examination and certification of training program.

From personal point of view, such an inclusion will be a good move because studying modern history and more importantly, studying domestic history is more fruitful than studying ancient history or history of other nation. It is not that those histories don’t have anything to teach us! It is just that I don’t find anything useful if an Indian child ends up learning Russian or American Revolution.


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Mayank Sharma

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